The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called on the National Assembly’s public petitions committees to investigate to investigate the alleged killings of scores of wedding guests by Ebubeagu in Imo State.
The rights group in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, expressed
dissatisfaction with what it calls “tales by moonlight issued by both Imo State governor Mr. Hope Uzodinma and the Department of state service (DSS) in Imo State on the alleged killings.”
The statement made available to PlatinumPost by HURIWA national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, said, “We are hereby asking the committees on the public petitions of both chambers of the National Assembly to suo moto initiate open, transparent and publicized independent investigation into the alleged killings by ebubeagu of over one dozen wedding guests in Awo-omama, Imo State, South East of Nigeria The Senator representing the people should also act swiftly to stop the massacre from being swept under the carpets.”
HURIWA said it is totally obscene and unconstitutional and indeed unconscionable that the Imo State governor and the DSS are both narrating a different version of the killings which the villagers have alleged were killings done in public execution style by the Ebubeagu but both the governor and the DSS claimed that those killed by members of Eastern Security network.
“Going by the deep gulf between all the claims about the killings, the need has therefore arisen for the lawmakers in Abuja to act to safeguard human right,” it said.
The group said it is shocking that days after the alleged wedding guests were allegedly murdered, the DSS is reported to have made a claim that those killed died during exchange of fire which is contrary to the claims made by the villagers who raised the alarm in the first place.
The Rights group said it is now imperative that the nation is informed of what truly took place just as it posited that Nigeria is the only country in the World whereby armed security operatives kill citizens at will and may brand the victims as bandits or just conjure up any story and there is no independent agency funded by tax payers to forensically ascertain if the killing was justifiable.
HURIWA said that in most civilised societies, the National Assembly provides such a safeguard but wonders why many incidents of suspected extramural executions of citizens by secure forces are happening and there is no reassuring institutional methods of accountability.
HURIWA recalled that” the Department of State Services (DSS) has made claims on the seven persons in Imo State, who were alleged to be wedding guests. In what it termed its clarification yesterday in Owerri, the Imo State capital, on what has been classified as “Awomama Killings”, the DSS said the victims were alleged members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
” The DSS insisted that the victims killed on Sunday were members of ESN and not guests coming from a wedding ceremony as against earlier reports.The agency made this known in a statement made available to newsmen when it paraded the suspect at the command in Owerri. The DSS said the victims fell during a fierce gun battle between a joint security team and the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed affiliate, Eastern Security Network last Sunday.”
HURIWA dismissed the claims of the Imo State Governor and the DSS as unsatisfactory and one sided and said it will on its own be sending a petition soon to the National Assembly if the public petitions’ committees wouldn’t on their own initiate a probe into this allegation of massacre of civilians, Imo citizens that has already circulated globally.
The group said since Nigeria is a constitutional democracy and not the banana republic that both the Imo State governor and the DSS’S accounts of the incident have made the Country to be, there is the need for the National Assembly to step in immediately and transparently collate claims abd counter claims on the incident and then reach a determination that will be satisfactory.
“Assuming without conceding that those killed were not wedding guests as claimed by Hope Uzodima why should Ebubeagu fire their bullets to kill persons riding on motorcycles?What is lawful would have been for Imo State government to investigate the killing but sadly the governor even took sides before ascertaining what really happened. This is so cruel, inhumane, wicked, irrational and insensitive that the governor can dismiss the alleged mass shooting of Imo citizens on the excuse that they were ‘bandits’ even before any sort of forensic probe is instituted”.
HURIWA quoting several media channels, stated that there was considerable trepidation, unprecedented anger in Imo State on Monday after news filtered in that gunmen suspected to be operatives of Ebubeagu Security outfit allegedly killed 7 wedding guests in Awomama, Oru West Local Government Area of the state.
“HURIWA gathered that the incident happened on Sunday while the victims were returning to their village in Otulu in Oru East LGA before the gunmen opened fire on them just as the President General of Otulu community, Nnamdi Agbor, told newsmen that seven persons died on the spot while others were missing. The community leader confirmed that the victims were on their way home when the gunmen opened fire on them.
“HURIWA said the community leader said thus: ‘As they were going home Ebubeagu operatives saw them in motorcycles and opened fire on them. As I speak to you, we have recovered seven dead bodies who are our people.“The monarch said that five are missing, while two are critically injured.’
“He said that the Commissioner of Police and the commander of the 34 artillery Brigade Command Obinze have visited the area. The Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Mike Abattam, confirmed the incident.”
However, HURIWA expressed shock and consternation that rather than order a transparent and an independent judicial investigation of the alleged mass killings, the governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma said that government will not be deterred by propaganda and blackmail in her quest to protect the lives and property of Imo citizens.